Prof. Barzilai Ari

Affiliation:Department Of Neurobiochemistry, The George S.Wise faculty of life sciences
Tel:  (972)-3-6409782
Fax: (972)-3-6407643
Personal Website:

Postal Address:Department of Neurobiochemistry
The George S.Wise faculty of life sciences

Tel Aviv University
Tel Aviv 69978

Research Interest

The molecular mechanism of optic nerve degeneration and regeneration

Millions of people throughout the world become blind as a result of devastating disease or trauma. In the Western world, the main factors leading to blindness are diseases such as diabetes, age related macular degeneration (AMD) and glaucoma, or traumas such as car and work accidents, terrorism and wars. In the third world, malnutrition as well as infective and toxic alimentation are the leading factors of blindness. Our work is based on our hypothesis that retinal ganglion cells (RGC) are capable of growing their axons following injury; however, the non-permissive environment prevents them from doing so. We further hypothesize that removal of the non-permissive cures and supplement the RGCs with axonal growth promoting substances will lead to axonal functional regeneration.   Based on these hypotheses we intend to use holistic approach that combines nanotechnological methodologies that will supplement the neurons with the necessary cues that will accelerate their growth. Our specific aims are:  (i) Implantation of biodegradable three-dimensional scaffold in the optic nerve and assessing its ability to promote RGC survival and axonal regeneration. (i) Spatial and temporal controlled secretion from specially designed nano-structures that will implanted in the optic nerve. (iii) Implantation of nano-chips and electrodes in the optic nerve in order to generate biofeedback necessary to maintain homeostatic conditions.

Selected Publications

  • Shirvan, A., Kimron, M., Holdengreber, V., Ziv, I., Melamed, S., Melamed, E., Barzilai, A., and Solomon, A.S., Anti sema3A antibodies resuce retinal ganglion cells from cell death induced by optic nerve axotomy. J. Biol. Chem. 277 49799-49807 (2002).
  • Shirvan, A., Melamed, E., and Barzilai, A., Induction of neuronal apoptosis by semaphorin 3A derived peptide. Brain Res. Mol. Brain Res. 83 81-93 (2000).
  • Shirvan, A., Ziv, I., Fleminger, G., Shina, R., He, Z., Brudo, I., Melamed, E., and Barzilai, A., Semaphorins as mediators of neuronal death. J. Neurochem. 73 961-971 (1999).